Ciarcia's Z80 and Z180 projects - CP/M

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Thread: Ciarcia's Z80 and Z180 projects

  1. Ciarcia's Z80 and Z180 projects

    Hello!
    During the late eighties and possibly the early nineties, an
    enterprising individual named Steve Ciarcia designed and built a pair
    of systems.

    One was a single board based Z80 system, and the other was a Z180
    system. As Steve explained it in the issues of Byte Magazine that
    described it, the Z180 originated with Hitachi as the HD64180 and
    Zilog actually got permission to second source the thing as the Z180.
    That system was essentially a full system. It was stuffed into a lunch
    box of all things. The Z180 ran a version of CP/M updated to
    accomodate the processor, because it used an updated release of the
    command processor program.

    Now the obvious, did anyone in the group actually build either one of
    these? The SBC would have been described in a book he wrote, and the
    box in a series of articles. I think it was eventually reprinted in a
    book containing his series of articles.
    ---
    Gregg drwho8@att.net

  2. Re: Ciarcia's Z80 and Z180 projects

    On May 9, 11:18*pm, Gregg C Levine wrote:
    > Hello!
    > During the late eighties and possibly the early nineties, an
    > enterprising individual named Steve Ciarcia designed and built a pair
    > of systems.
    >
    > One was a single board based Z80 system, and the other was a Z180
    > system. As Steve explained it in the issues of Byte Magazine that
    > described it, the Z180 originated with Hitachi as the HD64180 and
    > Zilog actually got permission to second source the thing as the Z180.
    > That system was essentially a full system. It was stuffed into a lunch
    > box of all things. The Z180 ran a version of CP/M updated to
    > accomodate the processor, because it used an updated release of the
    > command processor program.
    >
    > Now the obvious, did anyone in the group actually build either one of
    > these? The SBC would have been described in a book he wrote, and the
    > box in a series of articles. I think it was eventually reprinted in a
    > book containing his series of articles.
    > ---
    > Gregg drw...@att.net


    Hi,

    It was called the SB-180 and is an incredible SBC.

    http://www.wfms.org/sb180/index.html#what

    http://scott.squidliver.net/sb180/sb180.html

    Unfortunately, they are no longer made and as rare as hens teeth these
    days.

    Please someone show me I am wrong and these are available someplace.

    I think the P112 shares the same fate. Awesome SBC but no longer
    available.

    http://frotz.homeunix.org/p112/

    Maybe someone will make them available again someday. We can only
    hope.

    Best of luck in your search!

    Andrew Lynch


  3. Re: Ciarcia's Z80 and Z180 projects

    > During the late eighties and possibly the early nineties,
    > an enterprising individual named Steve Ciarcia
    > designed and built a pair of systems.


    Steve Ciarcia's "Circuit Cellar" was his
    "build the ___" column in Byte magazine.
    Most of those projects were reprinted as books.
    For many years, he's been publishing his own magazine
    http://circuitcellar.com/

    The kits and fully assembled projects were sold by Micromint.
    They're still in business
    http://micromint.com/

    Here are pix of the MicroMint SB-180 in a "shoebox" case
    http://www.classiccmp.org/dunfield/mmint/index.htm
    the specs
    http://www.classiccmp.org/dunfield/mmint/sb180.txt

    >One was a single board based Z80 system, and the other was a Z180
    >system. As Steve explained it in the issues of Byte Magazine that
    >described it, the Z180 originated with Hitachi as the HD64180 and
    >Zilog actually got permission to second source the thing as the Z180.
    >That system was essentially a full system.
    > It was stuffed into a lunch box of all things.


    I bought a Muppets lunchbox wanting to duplicate that
    but the thin 3.5" floppy drives were $$$ at the time.
    I only had full height 5.25" floppy drives at the time.
    Just the floppy drive filled the lunchbox!

    > Now the obvious, did anyone in the group
    > actually build either one of these?


    No, I breadboarded my own Z80
    (using a Timex/Sinclair 1000 for the front panel)
    and then bought a Servo-8 Z80B CP/M single board computer
    (what was my main system for several years).

    I'm ashamed to admit this, but I have a SB-180 in storage.
    I bought it used ("pre-owned")
    but just never had a compelling need to use it.
    The Linux PCs ate all my time and attention :-(

    -- Jeffrey Jonas

  4. Re: Ciarcia's Z80 and Z180 projects

    Gregg C Levine wrote:
    >
    > During the late eighties and possibly the early nineties, an
    > enterprising individual named Steve Ciarcia designed and built a
    > pair of systems.
    >
    > One was a single board based Z80 system, and the other was a Z180
    > system. As Steve explained it in the issues of Byte Magazine that
    > described it, the Z180 originated with Hitachi as the HD64180 and
    > Zilog actually got permission to second source the thing as the
    > Z180. That system was essentially a full system. It was stuffed
    > into a lunch box of all things. The Z180 ran a version of CP/M
    > updated to accomodate the processor, because it used an updated
    > release of the command processor program.
    >
    > Now the obvious, did anyone in the group actually build either
    > one of these? The SBC would have been described in a book he
    > wrote, and the box in a series of articles. I think it was
    > eventually reprinted in a book containing his series of articles.


    Yes. That was the event that resulted in upgrading DDTZ to handle
    64180 (Z180) instructions. The result is available at:



    --
    [mail]: Chuck F (cbfalconer at maineline dot net)
    [page]:
    Try the download section.


    ** Posted from http://www.teranews.com **

  5. Re: Ciarcia's Z80 and Z180 projects

    Hello Gregg,

    On Sat, 10 May 2008 03:18:05 GMT, Gregg C Levine wrote:

    >One was a single board based Z80 system, and the other was a Z180
    >system. As Steve explained it in the issues of Byte Magazine that
    >described it, the Z180 originated with Hitachi as the HD64180 and
    >Zilog actually got permission to second source the thing as the Z180.
    >That system was essentially a full system. It was stuffed into a lunch
    >box of all things. The Z180 ran a version of CP/M updated to
    >accomodate the processor, because it used an updated release of the
    >command processor program.


    Look this Sites search Nov 2007

    http://retrotechnology.com/herbs_stu...oint.html#2007

    My Homepage

    http://www.hd64180-z180.de/hd64180.html

    Rolf


  6. Re: Ciarcia's Z80 and Z180 projects

    On May 10, 12:03 am, je...@panix.com (Jeff Jonas) wrote:
    > The kits and fully assembled projects were sold by Micromint.
    > They're still in business
    > http://micromint.com/


    .... but they no longer are in *that* business. They sell a V25 RTC
    (stackable) board, but I don't think they still have any Z80 or Z180
    gear.

  7. Re: Ciarcia's Z80 and Z180 projects

    On Sat, 10 May 2008 03:18:05 GMT, Gregg C Levine
    wrote:

    >Hello!
    >During the late eighties and possibly the early nineties, an
    >enterprising individual named Steve Ciarcia designed and built a pair
    >of systems.


    Actually it was mid 80s, the September 1985 issue of Byte fo rthe
    SB180.

    >One was a single board based Z80 system, and the other was a Z180
    >system. As Steve explained it in the issues of Byte Magazine that
    >described it, the Z180 originated with Hitachi as the HD64180 and
    >Zilog actually got permission to second source the thing as the Z180.
    >That system was essentially a full system. It was stuffed into a lunch
    >box of all things. The Z180 ran a version of CP/M updated to
    >accomodate the processor, because it used an updated release of the
    >command processor program.
    >
    >Now the obvious, did anyone in the group actually build either one of
    >these? The SBC would have been described in a book he wrote, and the
    >box in a series of articles. I think it was eventually reprinted in a
    >book containing his series of articles.
    >---


    I have one of the latter, the SB180 and use it still. Mine unlike the
    ariticle is in a IBM PS2 case (flat pizza box) with a 20mb MFM
    drive and a Xybec SCSI/MFM bridge board. I also have the SCSI
    adaptor. So the system has two 3.5" drives and a hard disk and
    has Zrdos on it.

    I also have the BYTE with the article and the lunch box with two 3.5
    floppies was a but too crude/cute for me. It did prove a point as
    system before then were big compared to that.

    It would be tough to build one exactly now PC board aside. The FDC
    used is scarcer then hensteeth and the SCSI chip (5380) was never that
    common. Otherwise it's simple and very buildable.

    Oh, I also have the latter board the BCC180 that was intended for
    control apps.

    Allison

    >Gregg drwho8@att.net



  8. Re: Ciarcia's Z80 and Z180 projects

    > One was a single board based Z80 system, and the other was a Z180
    > system. As Steve explained it in the issues of Byte Magazine that
    > described it, the Z180 originated with Hitachi as the HD64180 and
    > Zilog actually got permission to second source the thing as the Z180.
    > That system was essentially a full system. It was stuffed into a lunch
    > box of all things. The Z180 ran a version of CP/M updated to
    > accomodate the processor, because it used an updated release of the
    > command processor program.


    > Now the obvious, did anyone in the group actually build either one of
    > these? The SBC would have been described in a book he wrote, and the
    > box in a series of articles. I think it was eventually reprinted in a
    > book containing his series of articles.


    Yes, I still have my SB180, and it still works.

    Anyone have the scsi or graphics options for this machine, and want to
    part with it?

    De

  9. Re: Ciarcia's Z80 and Z180 projects

    On Sat, 10 May 2008 20:31:01 GMT, no.spam@no.uce.bellatlantic.net
    wrote:

    >On Sat, 10 May 2008 03:18:05 GMT, Gregg C Levine
    > wrote:
    >
    >>Hello!
    >>During the late eighties and possibly the early nineties, an
    >>enterprising individual named Steve Ciarcia designed and built a pair
    >>of systems.

    >
    >Actually it was mid 80s, the September 1985 issue of Byte fo rthe
    >SB180.
    >
    >>One was a single board based Z80 system, and the other was a Z180
    >>system. As Steve explained it in the issues of Byte Magazine that
    >>described it, the Z180 originated with Hitachi as the HD64180 and
    >>Zilog actually got permission to second source the thing as the Z180.
    >>That system was essentially a full system. It was stuffed into a lunch
    >>box of all things. The Z180 ran a version of CP/M updated to
    >>accomodate the processor, because it used an updated release of the
    >>command processor program.
    >>
    >>Now the obvious, did anyone in the group actually build either one of
    >>these? The SBC would have been described in a book he wrote, and the
    >>box in a series of articles. I think it was eventually reprinted in a
    >>book containing his series of articles.
    >>---

    >
    >I have one of the latter, the SB180 and use it still. Mine unlike the
    >ariticle is in a IBM PS2 case (flat pizza box) with a 20mb MFM
    >drive and a Xybec SCSI/MFM bridge board. I also have the SCSI
    >adaptor. So the system has two 3.5" drives and a hard disk and
    >has Zrdos on it.
    >
    >I also have the BYTE with the article and the lunch box with two 3.5
    >floppies was a but too crude/cute for me. It did prove a point as
    >system before then were big compared to that.
    >
    >It would be tough to build one exactly now PC board aside. The FDC
    >used is scarcer then hensteeth and the SCSI chip (5380) was never that
    >common. Otherwise it's simple and very buildable.
    >
    >Oh, I also have the latter board the BCC180 that was intended for
    >control apps.
    >
    >Allison
    >
    >>Gregg drwho8@att.net


    Hello!
    Allison, you are amazing. I posted everything in that time period, and
    the timeline idea, because naturally even my memory is going hazy.

    This then becomes the obvious, can you post some place some good
    photos of the whole thing?

    Oh and I agree, both the FDC he chose, and now the SCSI controller,
    the NCR5380, was never that common. The only place I ever saw it was
    on cards for the SCSI drives, both tape and HD I have hanging around
    here.

    I believe Steve intended the SBC design as a simple developers idea.
    The Z180 contraption was obviously intended as a real world applicant.

    Building one or the other was never intended, I am only gathering data
    for a project based on the Z80, but definitely not in that ballpark.
    --
    Gregg drwho8@att.net

  10. Re: Ciarcia's Z80 and Z180 projects

    > Yes, I still have my SB180, and it still works.
    > Anyone have the scsi or graphics options for this machine,
    > and want to part with it?


    Photos of the COMM-180-S SCSI daughterboard
    shows a low parts count,
    so it might be reasonable to reconstruct.
    http://oemstrade.com/search/53C80 shows the 53c80
    is still available from Mouser, Digi-Key and others.

    google found
    http://www.classiccmp.org/pipermail/...il/125080.html
    for related discussions.
    Drat. I was curious about using SCSI for inter-processor communications
    and never knew (until now) that Ampro highly advocated such development
    with their LittleBoard. I bought the wrong system.

  11. Re: Ciarcia's Z80 and Z180 projects

    no.spam@no.uce.bellatlantic.net wrote:
    (snip)

    > It would be tough to build one exactly now PC board aside. The FDC
    > used is scarcer then hensteeth and the SCSI chip (5380) was never that
    > common. Otherwise it's simple and very buildable.


    The 53C80 was used on many models of Macintosh.

    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=12315

    Not only that, but as I understand it Apple directly drives
    the SCSI bus without any buffers, unlike the chips were designed
    to do.

    I don't know how different the 5380 and 53C80 are.

    -- glen


  12. Re: Ciarcia's Z80 and Z180 projects

    >> It would be tough to build one exactly now PC board aside.
    >> The FDC used is scarcer then hensteeth
    >> and the SCSI chip (5380) was never that common.


    >The 53C80 was used on many models of Macintosh.


    I have a box of ISA cards with the 53c80
    and just a few TTL chips,
    so the 5380 may not have been so "rare".
    They were certainly obsoleted by high speed SCSI-2 chips.
    I think the later ones integrated the PCI bus interface too.



    Talking of Apples and specific chips:
    when I was writing Unix SDLC drivers for the 8530 chip,
    I marveled that
    - it was the main chip for AppleTalk:
    http://www.mactech.com/articles/mact...ons/index.html
    - it was essentially a Z80 SIO with a more general interface
    - no chips have surpassed it for handling SDLC.
    In fact, I'm frustrated that most microcontrollers have
    dumber UARTS: little to no buffering/FIFO, no sync or SDLC.



    >http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=12315
    >Not only that, but as I understand it Apple directly drives
    >the SCSI bus without any buffers,
    >unlike the chips were designed to do.


    Sigh, that's a problem with being an early adopter/pioneer.
    I bought the Servo-8 6MHz Z80B
    instead of the extremely similar Ampro littleboard.
    The Servo8's on-board SASI port is just buffers with
    no SCSI chip to assist with bus timing or data transfer.

    >I don't know how different the 5380 and 53C80 are.


    I found no notes on that, but I found:


    David Coburn's web site:
    Micromint/CircuitCellar SB180 single board computer
    http://scott.squidliver.net/sb180/sb180.html

    ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

    From: Paul R.Hunt
    Subject: Re: The SB180FX, SCSI and DMA
    Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2003 19:51:09 +1000

    >>I, along with a number of other folk, have long been frustrated trying
    >>to get DMA data transfers to work with the NCR53C80 on the SB180FX.


    >>I have _finally_ succeeded, having pinpointed the problem, which
    >>turned out to be a trace routing error on the circuit board. My board
    >>is identified thus: "SB180FX (C) MICROMINT INC. 1986 REV. 1.0"


    Well, I have working SCSI code which will write and read a sector
    using DMA. Next step is to graft the code in a CP/M 3 BIOS.


  13. Re: Ciarcia's Z80 and Z180 projects

    On Sun, 11 May 2008 01:58:28 GMT, Gregg C Levine
    wrote:

    >On Sat, 10 May 2008 20:31:01 GMT, no.spam@no.uce.bellatlantic.net
    >wrote:
    >
    >>On Sat, 10 May 2008 03:18:05 GMT, Gregg C Levine
    >> wrote:
    >>
    >>>Hello!
    >>>During the late eighties and possibly the early nineties, an
    >>>enterprising individual named Steve Ciarcia designed and built a pair
    >>>of systems.

    >>
    >>Actually it was mid 80s, the September 1985 issue of Byte fo rthe
    >>SB180.
    >>
    >>>One was a single board based Z80 system, and the other was a Z180
    >>>system. As Steve explained it in the issues of Byte Magazine that
    >>>described it, the Z180 originated with Hitachi as the HD64180 and
    >>>Zilog actually got permission to second source the thing as the Z180.
    >>>That system was essentially a full system. It was stuffed into a lunch
    >>>box of all things. The Z180 ran a version of CP/M updated to
    >>>accomodate the processor, because it used an updated release of the
    >>>command processor program.
    >>>
    >>>Now the obvious, did anyone in the group actually build either one of
    >>>these? The SBC would have been described in a book he wrote, and the
    >>>box in a series of articles. I think it was eventually reprinted in a
    >>>book containing his series of articles.
    >>>---

    >>
    >>I have one of the latter, the SB180 and use it still. Mine unlike the
    >>ariticle is in a IBM PS2 case (flat pizza box) with a 20mb MFM
    >>drive and a Xybec SCSI/MFM bridge board. I also have the SCSI
    >>adaptor. So the system has two 3.5" drives and a hard disk and
    >>has Zrdos on it.
    >>
    >>I also have the BYTE with the article and the lunch box with two 3.5
    >>floppies was a but too crude/cute for me. It did prove a point as
    >>system before then were big compared to that.
    >>
    >>It would be tough to build one exactly now PC board aside. The FDC
    >>used is scarcer then hensteeth and the SCSI chip (5380) was never that
    >>common. Otherwise it's simple and very buildable.
    >>
    >>Oh, I also have the latter board the BCC180 that was intended for
    >>control apps.
    >>
    >>Allison
    >>
    >>>Gregg drwho8@att.net

    >
    >Hello!
    >Allison, you are amazing. I posted everything in that time period, and
    >the timeline idea, because naturally even my memory is going hazy.
    >
    >This then becomes the obvious, can you post some place some good
    >photos of the whole thing?


    I may be able to borrow a digi camera but I don't maintain a site,
    that's part of my day job.

    >Oh and I agree, both the FDC he chose, and now the SCSI controller,
    >the NCR5380, was never that common. The only place I ever saw it was
    >on cards for the SCSI drives, both tape and HD I have hanging around
    >here.


    At the time they were good choice for fewer parts and in teh case of
    the SCSI part nearly the only game in town.

    >I believe Steve intended the SBC design as a simple developers idea.
    >The Z180 contraption was obviously intended as a real world applicant.


    BCC180 was the industrial controller aimed at the embedded market and
    I think still available or it was till very recently.

    >Building one or the other was never intended, I am only gathering data
    >for a project based on the Z80, but definitely not in that ballpark.


    Check out yahoo groups Alpaca.. may eb what your thinking of.

    Allison

  14. Re: Ciarcia's Z80 and Z180 projects

    On Sat, 10 May 2008 20:52:39 -0800, glen herrmannsfeldt
    wrote:

    >no.spam@no.uce.bellatlantic.net wrote:
    >(snip)
    >
    >> It would be tough to build one exactly now PC board aside. The FDC
    >> used is scarcer then hensteeth and the SCSI chip (5380) was never that
    >> common. Otherwise it's simple and very buildable.

    >
    >The 53C80 was used on many models of Macintosh.
    >
    >http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=12315
    >
    >Not only that, but as I understand it Apple directly drives
    >the SCSI bus without any buffers, unlike the chips were designed
    >to do.
    >
    >I don't know how different the 5380 and 53C80 are.


    53C is for CMOS.

    There are differences but for the most part they are sufficently the
    same for a possible implmentation save for they are going
    away fast. Both are very old parts.

    Allison


    >-- glen



  15. Re: Ciarcia's Z80 and Z180 projects

    On 11 May 2008 00:36:32 -0400, jeffj@panix.com (Jeff Jonas) wrote:

    >> Yes, I still have my SB180, and it still works.
    >> Anyone have the scsi or graphics options for this machine,
    >> and want to part with it?

    >
    >Photos of the COMM-180-S SCSI daughterboard
    >shows a low parts count,
    >so it might be reasonable to reconstruct.
    >http://oemstrade.com/search/53C80 shows the 53c80
    >is still available from Mouser, Digi-Key and others.


    You should go to those sites and try to actually buy them... most are
    nonstock, mouse has some listed as obsolete in Pdip or PLC44
    package and minimum tube buy (around 100$).

    >google found
    > http://www.classiccmp.org/pipermail/...il/125080.html
    >for related discussions.
    >Drat. I was curious about using SCSI for inter-processor communications
    >and never knew (until now) that Ampro highly advocated such development
    >with their LittleBoard. I bought the wrong system.


    That was the case and Ampro was also one of the biggies that were the
    advocates of the SCSI standard. Before that is was SASI and almost
    but not quite the same.

    What no one mentioned is the 53(c)80 series was a pain to program as
    well. It had, uhm, quirks.

    Allison

  16. Re: Ciarcia's Z80 and Z180 projects

    On 11 May 2008 00:36:32 -0400, jeffj@panix.com (Jeff Jonas) wrote:

    >Drat. I was curious about using SCSI for inter-processor communications
    >and never knew (until now) that Ampro highly advocated such development
    >with their LittleBoard. I bought the wrong system.


    You might search for stuff from Emulux, while you're at it.

    I first got into them for their tape interface boards, then later
    for SCSI - ESDI controllers when some IBM drives came up
    surplus really cheap. Was IBM the first to use ESDI? At least
    twice as fast as anything I'd seen up to then.

    Bill

  17. Re: Ciarcia's Z80 and Z180 projects

    On May 11, 8:09 am, no.s...@no.uce.bellatlantic.net wrote:
    > BCC180 was the industrial controller aimed at the embedded market and
    > I think still available or it was till very recently.


    Ah! "BCC" (smacks hand on forehead) ... yes, Micromint still carries
    those. At $500 the processor board is a bit pricey for my purposes,
    but when I said they didn't have any Z80 systems, I missed one of
    their product line pages.

    http://www.micromint.com/products/bcc180.htm


  18. Re: Ciarcia's Z80 and Z180 projects

    On Sun, 11 May 2008 11:13:02 -0700 (PDT), BruceMcF
    wrote:

    >On May 11, 8:09 am, no.s...@no.uce.bellatlantic.net wrote:
    >> BCC180 was the industrial controller aimed at the embedded market and
    >> I think still available or it was till very recently.

    >
    >Ah! "BCC" (smacks hand on forehead) ... yes, Micromint still carries
    >those. At $500 the processor board is a bit pricey for my purposes,
    >but when I said they didn't have any Z80 systems, I missed one of
    >their product line pages.
    >
    >http://www.micromint.com/products/bcc180.htm



    But it's still a cool board and with a CF or IDE hung off the
    parallel ports you have a nice CP/M system that has more than
    256K of ram (ramdisk or banked for CP/M3). Also theres room for
    a mix of up to four 62256 rams (32K) and 27(c)256 eproms for
    128K mix orf ram or eprom enough for a rom/ramdisk.

    If you had the schematic it's buildable as the only hard part is the
    PLCC 64180 as the rest of the parts are DIP TTL and no PALS/GALS.


    Allison

  19. Re: Ciarcia's Z80 and Z180 projects

    On May 11, 5:13 pm, no.s...@no.uce.bellatlantic.net wrote:
    > On Sun, 11 May 2008 11:13:02 -0700 (PDT), BruceMcF
    >
    > wrote:
    > >On May 11, 8:09 am, no.s...@no.uce.bellatlantic.net wrote:
    > >> BCC180 was the industrial controller aimed at the embedded market and
    > >> I think still available or it was till very recently.


    > >Ah! "BCC" (smacks hand on forehead) ... yes, Micromint still carries
    > >those. At $500 the processor board is a bit pricey for my purposes,
    > >but when I said they didn't have any Z80 systems, I missed one of
    > >their product line pages.


    > >http://www.micromint.com/products/bcc180.htm


    > But it's still a cool board and with a CF or IDE hung off the
    > parallel ports you have a nice CP/M system that has more than
    > 256K of ram (ramdisk or banked for CP/M3). Also theres room for
    > a mix of up to four 62256 rams (32K) and 27(c)256 eproms for
    > 128K mix orf ram or eprom enough for a rom/ramdisk.


    Horses for courses of course ... its not along the lines of what I'd
    want, that says nothing in particular at all about whether its a nice
    board.

    > If you had the schematic it's buildable as the only hard part is the
    > PLCC 64180 as the rest of the parts are DIP TTL and no PALS/GALS.


    I'd just like to be able to program PEEL's ... they are EEPROM based,
    it seems that it should be possible to do that for a price point at
    least a little less than $500.


  20. Re: Ciarcia's Z80 and Z180 projects

    >You might search for stuff from Emulux, while you're at it.

    Oy, another project I never completed in time.
    I have several SASI and SCSI "bridge" cards
    for SMD, MFM, QIC, floppy.
    In the late 80s, SCSI was gaining acceptance but many places
    still had vested interests in running old hardware,
    thus the "bridge" cards to convert old interfaces
    (ST506, ST512, ESDI, SMD, QIC) to SCSI.
    But most were before CCS (SCSI Common Command Set)
    so the drivers were specific to each mfgr and card.
    That was the main obstacle to my using them:
    lack of drivers and the difficulty of writing my own.

    Sun had "shoeboxes" of ESDI drives with the bridge card
    so it worked with the newer SCSI interfaced systems.
    AT&T similarly continued using/supporting ESDI drives
    to the 3B2s. The floppy drive on some DEC systems
    had a piggyback board, converting them to SCSI. (*1)

    In the late 80s, I worked at Concurrent Computer Corp.
    Their smaller system used a SCSI bridge card for
    hard drives, floppy AND tape drive.
    I was starting to learn the device drivers for that card
    but had to jump ship before the facility was shut down.
    I wish the Unix C source code was available,
    for significant effort went into the drivers
    to support the symmetric multiprocessor real-time OS.

    >I first got into them for their tape interface boards,
    >then later for SCSI - ESDI controllers
    >when some IBM drives came up surplus really cheap.


    Interesting: did you write the drivers yourself?
    For what platform, what language?

    Like you, I used to play the surplus market for computer parts,
    but now the new parts are very cost effective.



    -- Jeffrey Jonas
    jeffj@panix(dot)com
    The original Dr. JCL and Mr .hide

    (*1) I find SCSI floppies appealing
    since that allows >2 drives on a system, even externally.
    That's why I still have some "floptical" drives:
    they're natively SCSI and support standard floppy disks
    as well as the 20 meg floptical disks.
    Those drives are on "standby" since I now use USB flash drives.

    And once I found affordable SCSI interfaced QIC tape drives,
    I had no real reason to try using SCSI bridge cards.
    Yes, I like the concept of up to 7 devices using LUNs
    (1: QIC tape drive, 4: floppy, 2: hard drives)
    under only one SCSI bus ID,
    but I rarely have a SCSI bus that full anymore.
    Cheap multichannel SCSI cards reduced the need for that anyway :-/

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